The Los Angeles Rams are hosting the Atlanta Falcons Sunday at 4:25pm. This could easily be described as one of the more critical games of the season for the Falcons thus far. With a 7-5 record, they are tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers atop the NFC South. With a win, they guarantee holding that spot. With a loss and a Tampa win, (Tampa plays at home against the Saints) that spot belongs sully to Tampa. The good news for the Falcons is, the Rams have seen their struggles through the 13 weeks of the regular season. The Rams are 4-8 and 3rd in their division only ahead of the 49ers. Jared Goff has struggled since getting the start in week 11, and Gurley has seen an extraordinary long drought due to a poor Rams offensive line. Even with these factors, and ESPN giving the Falcons a 69.4 percent chance to win, Atlanta is still going to have to continue producing on offense and other aspects of the game to come out on top.
Matty Ice and offense: Matt Ryan looks to continue his stellar season against a slightly below average Rams defense. No matter the defense Ryan is playing against, no team seems to be able to slow him down. His QBR rating is 112.3, second only to Brady at 113.1. Ryan along with dangerous wide receivers has led the Falcons to averaging 33 points a game. That statistic looks to go up as he plays a Rams defense that has struggled of late; giving up 26 points to the Patriots, and 49 to the Saints in their last two games. Freeman and Coleman have also played a major role in the rushing game, enabling the passing game to be less predictable and more of a weapon. The Rams will have their hands full trying to handle Jones, Freeman, Coleman, and Ryan. Even if the Falcons defense decides not to show up, the Falcons still have a shot at winning a high scoring game with a powerful offense led mostly by Matt Ryan.
Defense: A constant struggle for the Falcons all season long has been their defense. They rank as one of the worst in the league. Without the offense being as successful as they are right now, it’s easy to say the falcons would be below 500 because of where their defense is at. Luckily, the Rams offense has been far from great, so things might change Sunday for the Falcons D. The Rams are dead last in the NFL in the yards per game category. An easier matchup for the falcons can build confidence which can help the defense in the long run. Also, be on the lookout for Vic Beasley, as he has been on fire lately! Creating pressure for rookie QB Jared Goff could possibly create turnovers leading to a Falcons victory. Aside from the pass rush, Atlanta looks to continue improving in the secondary. Without Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford is the new corner Atlanta is relying on. One downside is Alford gets penalties called on him a lot, but he has also shown tremendous talent dating back to last year. Rookie safety Keanu Neal, along with rookie linebacker Deion Jones, has also shown the talent Atlanta has been striving for. With these types of athletes seemingly getting better each week, Atlanta might finally be on the verge of a breakout defensive game against the Rams.
Injury report (via atlantafalcons.com)
WR- Julio Jones(toe)/questionable
S- Robenson Therezie(ankle)/questionable
T- Jake Matthews(knee)/questionable
Injured but no status
T- Tom Compton(knee)
DE-Dwight Freeney(not injury related)
image 2 received from: http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2016/1111/r151123_576x324_16-9.jpg